Nellis AFB

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Last Validated feb-2022
City Las Vegas, NV
Position 36°14'09"N 115°02'04"W
Runway(s) 03L/21R, 03R/21L
Elevation 1868 ft


One of the places any aviation enthusiast must have visited once in his lifetime is Nellis Air Force Base in the middle of the desert in Nevada. This airbase is most famous of his large, multi-national 'Red-Flag- exercises' which is held 2-3 times a year. Of course , the most special aircraft based at this airbase are the spectacular painted Aggressor-aircraft and the F-22A Raptors. The base is packed with aircraft and at times of a Red Flag exercise it is even better. We can recommend to have a look at google earth and zoom into the base. (Press the back button and zoom in on the overview map. Then click the "satellite button".

Getting There

Nellis AFB is located northeast of Las Vegas, NV. directly along the S-604 (N Las Vegas Blvd.), just near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Follow the I-15, direction Mesquite and take exit 'Speedway'. Continue following the Speedway Blvd till you've reached the S-604. On the opposite side of the S-604 is the airbase located. Important is that you should stay at all times away from the fence to avoid problems with the security-forces and will be send away.

Around the Airport

1Landing runway 21 (1)

The land underneath the landing is fenced off. Now you can view/photograph the landing aircraft from a spot along the N.Las Vegas Blvd (S-604). It is located just near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Checkered Flag Ln). For photos, this spot is mainly suitable during the (late) afternoon (2pm+). Always park your car at the Speedway side and stay on that side. For 'Flex' or 'VFR' departures from runway 03L, the aircraft turn hard to the west near gate 6 and 7 so position yourself there for some banking shots. For arrivals onto runway 21R aircraft will mostly break overhead to the right with a nice banking turn onto final. Depending on the aircraft, position yourself between this spot and spot 2, beginning with gate 1 for the first aircraft and gate 3 or 4 for the last, or the bigger aircraft. Aircraft landing on 21L can be seen and photographed but will need serious big lenses.

2Landing runway 21 (2)

For photos, this spot is (like spot 1) mainly suitable during the (late) afternoon (2pm+) and could be found somewhat down the road (south) found at the intersection of N Hollywood Blvd and N.Las Vegas Blvd (S-604) near gate 1.


This is spot is at a crash gate along the S-604. From this crash gate, you can see the HH-60's perfectly. It's even possible to photograph them. Keep in mind that you really don't stay here too long otherwise you will certainly get security problems. If you coming from spot 2 or 3 you should drive in the direction of the city. The first crash gate on your left is the one. For spotting and photographing of the HH-60s, you can also park at the wasteland on the other side of the road. It is elevated therefore you can spot all helicopters. Also the HH-60s will land here coming from the west perpendicular to the road so it is a good spot for taking landing shots.

4Landing runway 03L/R afternoon

This spot is located in a public park (Nellis Meadows Park). Photos are only possible for aircraft landing at runway 03R in the afternoon. Aircraft landing at 3L will pass straight over your head. An advantage of this spot is there are some trees that will bring you a welcome shadow during the mostly hot days. The park is located along E Cheyenne Ave, just behind the gas station on the city-side of Nellis Blvd. For afternoon 03L landing shots, position yourself at the corner of E Cheyenne Ave and N Ringe Lane.

5Runway 03L

From the I-15, take exit 45 to enter the S-147 (E Lake Mead Blvd) (direction Sunrise Manor). After a while at the S-147 , you should take right at the 7th large intersection to get on the S-612 (N Nellis Blvd). After passing the airbase fencing you should take a left (E Cheyenne Av.). This part of the road is underneath the landing of runway 03L. For afternoon shots you position yourself at the beginning near N Ringe Lane. For morning shots, take a right at the end onto Devry Lane and position yourself. At this turn you have a good view onto the End Of Runway (EOR) checkpoint, the preserved aircraft, the Draken hangars and the preserved aircraft at the Freedom Park.

6Landing runway 03R morning

This is a spot where pictures can be taken for landings on runway 03R in the morning. It is at a turning circle at the East end of Alto Ave, in the same trading estate as Cheyenne is to be found. In practice, the first of the aircraft in the break are turning above you so you are looking almost straight up at them. As the landing runway will be assigned by tower, it can switch during the approach. Therefore it is best practice to park in between spot 5 and 6 on N Betty Lane and listen to the radio for the "5 Miles at Craig" or "5 Miles at Simmons" call after which the runway will be assigned.

7Reading Serials (1)

To arrive in this area, continue away from the airbase on Betty Lane. Take a left at E Lake Mead Blvd. Take a left at Mt Hood Street to arrive at spot 7. This spot is on corner of Alto Ave and Mt Hood Street and is useful for spotting serials only with some good binoculars.

8Reading Serials (2)

This spot is located on the corner of Shatz St and Cecile Ave is useful for spotting serials only with some good binoculars. Alternatively you can drive into Hayden Peak Lane, park at the next turn and walk into the road to the gate.

9Reading Serials (3)

For the number crunchers we recommend the spot which is best very early in the morning. From here you will have an overview of the base and be able to read the serials on the ramp with a good mono or binocular (at sunrise). To get here continue at E Lake Mead Blvd (S-147) and go left onto the N Hollywood Blvd. This road brings you to the spot. Park at the east side of the road away from the gate and go up the small embankment.

10Reading Serials (4)

This spot is located at the hill to the East off N Hollywood Blvd. At Alto Ave take a right and go up the hill. Here, at the next crossing, park your car. You will get a view over all the houses but you need a good 60x telescope to read the serials and even the small commander's numbers. Be aware it can be quite busy with trucks hauling sand.

F-15C (83-0027/WA) taken from spot 5 with 400mm digital. (Robert Verbrugge)

F-22A (00-4012/OT) taken at spot 1 with 420mm analog. (Pieter van Polanen)


289.400 / 120.900Clearance Delivery
275.800 / 121.800Ground
327.000 / 132.550Tower
385.400 / 135.100Departure
124.950 / 273.550Class B North
291.725 / 118.125Approach
340.200AF OPS

Based Operators

422nd TESA-10C, F-15E, F-16CM/DM, F-22A, F-35A, HH-60G
16th WPSF-16CM/DM
17th WPSF-15E
34th WPSHH-60G
64th AGRSF-16C/D
65th AGRSF-16CM/DM, F-35A
66th WPSA-10C
433rd WPSF-15C/D, F-22A
66th RQSHH-60G
ADSF-16CM/DM (Thunderbirds)
6th WPSF-35A
Draken InternationalMirage F-1M, L-159A


55-3595/WBF-100D, marked as '56-3298'
63-8276/WAF-105G '66FWS'
64-0806F-4C marked as '94806'
74-1571/WAF-5E marked as '73-0865''57FWW'
76-0057/WAF-15C, parked at ramp with Vegas Strong c/s
79-10780/TRF-117A marked as '780'

More Info

Nellis AFBOfficial website
ThunderbirdsOfficial website
Dreamlandresort Red FlagNellis Exercises Information, including Red Flag participants

Other Airfields

Las Vegas - McCarran Intl  
Nellis AFB
North Las Vegas

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